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    The H1N1 Vaccine => Your Questions, Answered

    July 17, 2010 •  15 comments.

     •  Blog, Uncategorized
    Disclaimer: The AllergyKids Foundation is the only national food allergy organization that does not accept money, grants, or sponsorships from the pharmaceutical industry.

    The FDA approved four versions of the pandemic H1N1 (or “swine” flu) vaccine.

    According to Dr. Sears, author of The Vaccine Book, here is the run down on each of these four vaccines:

    Sanofi Pasteur’s injected vaccine: Approved for ALL age groups (infants 6 months of age through adulthood and the elderly). It comes in several forms:

    Prefilled single ½ dose syringe with NO mercury – for infants 6 thru 35 months of age. Prefilled single full dose syringe with NO mercury – for anyone 3 years and older.
    Single-dose (full-dose) vial with NO mercury – for anyone 3 years and older.
    Multidose bottle (contains ten full doses or twenty ½ doses) WITH 25 mcg of mercury per full dose – for anyone 6 months and older (infants 6 to 35 months would get a half dose (0.25 ml), 3 years and older would get the full 0.5 ml dose).
    Other ingredients include: the viral proteins, egg proteins, gelatin, formaldehyde, polyethylene glycol p-isooctyphenyl ether, sucrose.

    CSL’s injected vaccine: Approved for anyone 18 years and older. It comes in two forms:

    Prefilled single-dose syringe with NO mercury.
    Multidose bottle with ten doses WITH 24.5 mcg of mercury per dose.
    Other ingredients include: the viral proteins, sodium chloride, sodium phosphate, potassium phosphate, calcium, taurodeoxycholate, egg protein, 2 antibiotics, and beta-propiolactone.

    Novartis’s injected vaccine: Approved for anyone 4 years and older. It comes in two forms:

    Prefilled single-dose syringes with a trace amount of mercury (less than 1 mcg because 99% of it is filtered out).
    Multidose bottle with ten doses WITH 25 mcg of mercury per dose.

    Other ingredients include: the viral proteins, sodium chloride, phosphate, egg proteins, two antibiotics, betapropiolactone, nonylphenol ethoxylate.

    MedImmune’s live virus nasal spray vaccine: Approved for anyone 2 years through 49 years of age. There is no mercury.

    Other ingredients include: the live viruses, egg protein, MSG, pig gelatin, arginine, sucrose, potassium phosphate, an antibiotic

    How many doses are needed?

    According to Dr. Sears, all infants and children from 6 months through 9 years of age are supposed to get two doses of this vaccine, one month apart (no matter what brand you are using, and you probably shouldn’t switch brands between the two doses). This is needed to generate an adequate immune response. Anyone who is 10 years and older only needs ONE dose.

    Can doses be given along with other vaccines?

    According to Dr. Sears, the product inserts make it very clear that no testing has yet been done on these versions of the flu vaccine to determine if they can be given along with other vaccines. The government is operating under the assumption that these vaccines should behave the same way as their regular seasonal flu vaccine counterparts.

    According to Dr. Sears,technically you can get them together (both flu shots together) or with any other vaccine. But Dr. Sears’ advice? Get them alone, as far apart as you can from another flu shot or any other shots. More on this below.

    What safety and efficacy testing has been done on these vaccines?

    According to Dr. Sears,”The product inserts make it VERY clear that the “swine” flu versions of these vaccines have NOT undergone any testing to demonstrate whether or not they are safe and whether or not they even work. They are relying on the fact that they are so similar to the regular flu shots that they should work just as well”.

    What about pregnant and/or nursing mothers?

    According to Dr. Sears, “The flu shots are ALREADY recommended for pregnant and nursing moms, BUT (and this is a really huge but) the vaccine product inserts make it very clear that the regular flu vaccines have never been tested on pregnant or nursing women to determine if there is any harm to fetuses or young babies (with one exception – the ­­­­Flumist nasal spray brand did have some testing in this area, BUT not enough, as is stated in the product insert).”

    According to Dr. Sears, if you do get a flu shot, make sure it is mercury free (or at least only TRACE mercury).

    What should I get first, regular or swine flu shots, and how do I space them out?

    Dr. Sears’ basic advice for anyone is to only get one flu shot at a time, spaced out one month apart. So, it would take 3 months to work in all four doses (2 regular flu and 2 swine flu).

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Dr. Sears, the seasonal flu causes about 20 infant and 100 total pediatric deaths each year in the U.S. The swine flu has so far caused 112 pediatric deaths. So, that’s about the same as the regular flu. From April through the end of July, there were about 43,000 confirmed swine flu cases, with 5000 hospitalizations and about 300 deaths in all ages according to the CDC website.
    What about other routine childhood vaccines that are also needed during this time?

    Dr. Sears advises parents to delay any vaccines for diseases that don’t pose an immediate danger to a baby’s or child’s life and catch up on those vaccines in Feb or March, a couple months after finishing the flu vaccines. Diseases that aren’t usually life-threatening (keeping in mind that ANY disease can be fatal, but the following are less likely to be) include measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, and Hep A. Diseases that don’t exist in the U.S. or that don’t occur during infancy in the U.S. (so even though they can be very severe, a child has almost no risk of catching it in the U.S.) that could be safely delayed are polio, Hep B, tetanus, and diphtheria (although to get a pertussis vaccine, tetanus and diphtheria have to come along with it).

    Diseases that DO pose an immediate danger to babies and children are HIB and PC meningitis, Rotavitus, and Pertussis. So, Dr. Sears would rather children stay on time with those four vaccines and delay the flu shots (if you feel comfortable delaying flu shots).

    If you want to make sure your child has flu coverage and stays up to date on these other shots, you can stagger them by two weeks.
    For teens, Dr. Sears would follow the same guidelines – don’t get flu shot around any of the other routine teen shots like HPV, meningococcal, or Tdap. The only disease here that would be more severe than flu would be meningococcal, so that’s more of a priority.

    For more information on ingredients contained in the H1N1, please visit the FDA’s site.

    For more information about vaccines and candid insight and information from Dr. Sears, please visit Ask Dr. Sears

    The content of the AllergyKids’ blog, site and newsletter is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For medical advice, please contact your physician or other qualified healthcare professional. The content of the AllergyKids’ newsletter is not intended to constitute legal advice or substitute for obtaining legal advice from your own counsel.

      15 Responses to “The H1N1 Vaccine => Your Questions, Answered”

      1. Cyndi

        I really appreciated this article and insite on this new vaccine! I’ve been very worried as to have my 9 yr. old (who has asthma and gets severe coughing spellls every winter due to simple colds and flus!) and my 6 yr. old (who has a severe milk allergy, environmental allergies and allergy induced asthma!). They recently got their flu shot from the allergist, but trying to be a good mother, I wasn’t sure if the new H1N1 vaccine was proven enough to get for MY kids. No mom wants to see their child sick, when they could have helped provent it from a simple shot!

      2. Rae

        man, i’m still so torn over this issue. because of all the additives and risks (and the maximum mercury restriction lifted for the H1N1 vaccine) i’m leaning towards avoiding it for my family. i’d rather just be on point and super aware of my kid’s symptoms and signs over the flu months than vaccinate them with something that their immune system might not be able to process or respond to. it’s such a hard choice though! it was really helpful to read dr. sears advice and points as well as the list of additional ingredients. thanks for this post! i’m looking forward to reading whatever else you might have for cold and flu season.

      3. Wendy

        I, also, was torn over what to do about this new vaccine. After reading in this article that formaldehyde is an additional ingrediant, I’m pretty sure that I’m going to skip the H1N1 vaccine for my daughter.

      4. Steffany

        How come I have not heard about having to go back for a second shot from anyone before this article? I wonder if having to wait for 3 months to fulfill the flu shots is even worth it. It’s going to be January before many people finish them.

        Does anyone know if the nasal mist with the live virus leaves you contagious for a few days? And why do have to add MSG? Don’t they realize we have people sensitive to that “flavor enhancer”?

      5. Karie

        Wow, I too was not sure if we should get the vaccine for our 6 year old son. He is asthmatic and has other allergies. My concern was that it is new and with new drugs, vaccines, etc. always comes risks and/or “damage” that you hear about later through many lawsuits taking action. Only after reading this article did I realize how scary this vaccine is. I now am confident that we will not be vaccinating our son with this vaccine. I don’t believe it to be safe. Mercury and formaldehyde are not our choice of things to inject into our son’s body.

        Thank you so much for this article! :)
        Karie

      6. Dear Robyn,
        Thanks for posting this article. Just after you came to Atlanta promoting your book my sister in law gave me your book for my birthday. I read it over the summer and have been inspired to passionately pursue taking even more responsibility for my family’s health.

        Vaccines that are rushed to market are very scary. Thank you for this great article. I have read Dr. Sears baby and birth books and have loved his advice.

        On the swine and seasonal flu, we have chosen not to vaccinate. I would much rather build our immune systems with nourishing foods. However, I would like to recommend
        Oscillococcinum by Boiron (www.oscillo.com) in case you actually do contract the flu (either kind). It’s ok for kids and adults and works like a charm.

        My blog is in it’s infancy, I am dreaming big!
        Keep up the good work,
        Judith

      7. Jamie

        Thank you so much for this information. I am so grateful to AllergyKids, but yet so disheartened that I can’t even get this kind of basic information from my own pediatrician.

        • Crystal

          I agree with you about not getting information from our own pediatricians! I feel like everyone is staying so vague! If I am going to put something in my child’s body, I want to know details! I have a 10 month old little girl and I am strongly leaning towards not vaccinating. It is a scary decision, but she doesn’t go to day care, and I limit her outings. I just don’t feel it its worth the risk of the shot.

      8. Christie

        I am so grateful to have heard Robin on XM over the Summer! I feel more informed than many people that I know and have passed this article on to many of my mom friends. I chose to vaccinate my 2 1/2 year old because I have a 4 month old baby. My husband has been vaccinated as well. I am nursing, so that is not the best option for me at this time. I love Robin’s book and encourage everyone to read it, for our children’s health as well as our own.

        • Eel

          You’ve hit the ball out the park! Inrceiblde!

      9. Thank you so much for listing the additional ingredients. My daughter is severely allergic to corn – it will still take a while to find out if she can have it because the research takes a while. Corn is something I worry about with medicines and childhood vaccines as well. I’ll have to check the book out!

      10. Sue

        I absolutely appreciated the timing of this e-mail. I have 2 children that I consider vaccine injured and have stopped vaccinations since my one son was 2 and the other 4 months. They are now 3 and 5 and very healthy. They have good nutrition, excellent handwashing and sleep habits. I highly rely on all of this to keep our family healthy. I was almost scared into thinking that I needed to vaccinate them against the flu and swine flu to prevent something horrible, but after reading your quotes from Dr. Sears I have my confidence back that I know I’m making the right choice by my children, short term and long term health.

      11. Heather

        Well i have a 9 month old son, im very worried about him getting that shot because since they havent even properly tested it, what are the risks going to be in the future for the people who already got it? It is infused with another virus, they give you some of the h1n1 flu virus in it too, like its not hard to see that i am NOT getting this shot for my son, some people will not agree but i feel no trust in the vaccine. There were also other rumors about a cancer gene in the vaccination. I’m not risking my life nor my son’s. I mean, when i first heard of it i was like “Yeah my son needs it” But after hearing all these rumors on the news and how the government didnt properly even test it, im not getting it for my son. He eats healthy, i bathe him every single day, i make sure if anyone holds him that they rub hand sanitizer on their hands. I am not getting it either, im very healthy and i always make sure im clean, i even bought Lysol!!
        I’m very confident in my sons health. And i do not need that vaccine for me nor him.

      12. Thank you for this very detailed information about H1N1 Vaccine. Great article. Making people aware of this very important topic is a big help for parents like us. Keep up the good work!

      13. but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

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